LETRAN and San Beda moved closer in claiming the two outright semifinals berths after trampling separate foes in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament yesterday at the La Salle Greenhills Gym.
Season 95 Finals MVP Fran Yu hit three triples in a telling 15-0 finishing run as the Knights topped Emilio Aguinaldo College, 83-62, to extend their perfect run to six games.
The Red Lions withstood a late University of Perpetual System Dalta uprising to fashion out a 78-71 victory and inch closer in securing their 15th straight Final Four appearance.
Yu’s hot outside sniping in the final three minutes keyed Letran’s win, as the Knights quelled the Generals’ fourth quarter uprising.
Coach Bonnie Tan is looking for more from Yu, who finished with 11 points, as Letran is bracing for tougher battles ahead including a April 29 rivalry game with San Beda.
“Actually ang hinahanap ko sa kanya is yung leadership sa loob ng court, kung paano paganahin yung players niya. Yung teammates niya kung paano lumabas ang laro from shooters to our bigs.
Dapat mapalabas yung laro ng mga teammates niya,” said Tan.
Brent Paraiso and Kurt Reyson each had 15 points while Rhenz Abando chipped in 14 points, six rebounds and two blocks for the Knights.
Trailing by as much as 17 points in the second half, the Altas capped a 8-0 run with a Lean Martel’s undergoal stab to inch closer to 67-74, with 1:47 remaining.
Peter Alfaro then delivered the dagger for the Lions, scoring a lay-up off a Yukien Andrada’s bullet pass for a nine-point cushion at the 1:24 mark.
“We are happy we got this win. We have really preparing hard for Perpetual,” said coach Boyet Fernandez after San Beda also improved to 6-0.
James Kwekuteye finished with 18 points and two steals while Andrada chipped in 15 points and four rebounds for the Lions.
A win over Mapua on Saturday will give San Beda an outright passage to the Final Four, and Fernandez is looking forward for one of this season’s most anticipated match-ups.
The Cardinals sit in third place with a 5-2 record and had recovered from a rough patch by winning their last two games.
“Sa totoo lang, isa sa mga strong teams ko ang Mapua. They have been shooting well in the three-point area. We will see what we can do against Mapua,” said Fernandez.
“For now we will enjoy this win. We will be ready for them, for sure,” the multi-titled mentor added.
With a 3-4 slate, EAC fell in a tie with idle San Sebastian in joint fifth.
The Altas, for their part, remained outside the play-in range with their fifth loss in seven games in eight spot. Teams ranked from third to sixth after the single-round eliminations will make it to the play-in round to determine the two other semifinalists.
Kim Aurin had 16 points in a reserve role while Jielo Razon added 15 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals for Perpetual.
San Beda (78) — Kwekuteye 18, Andrada 15, Amsali 9, Alfaro 9, Cuntapay 6, Ynot 5, Penuela 4, Bahio 4, Jopia 4, Gallego 2, Cometa 2, Villejo 0, Visser 0, Sanchez 0, Abuda 0.
Perpetual (71) — Aurin 16, Razon 15, Pagaran 13, Martel 12, Ferreras 3, Boral 3, Egan 2, Sevilla 2, Abis 2, Omega 2, Cuevas 1, Barcuma 0, Nunez 0, Kawamura 0.
Quarterscores: 16-16, 48-34, 64-50, 78-71
Letran (83) — Paraiso 15, Reyson 15, Abando 14, Yu 11, Ambohot 9, Mina 9, Sangalang 6, Caralipio 4, Fajarito 0, Olivario 0, Javillonar 0, Lantaya 0, Guarino 0, Tolentino 0, Ariar 0.
EAC (62) — Cosejo 13, Maguliano 11, Robin 10, Liwag 8, Taywan 7, Bunyi 5, Luciano 4, Gurtiza 4, Cadua 0, Fuentes 0, An. Doria 0, Ad. Doria 0, Cosa 0, Umpad 0.
Quarterscores: 23-12, 44-25, 63-44, 83-62.